Snow days and the impact on area schools

PHILADELPHIA - March 3, 2014

For Philadelphia schools this was snow day number seven.

At this point, not everyone likes a snow day.

Caleb Clark is happy to have another day off to go sledding. But his older sister Roisin, despite making snow angels, isn't welcoming another snow day.

She explains her feelings, saying, "Because you lose stuff like your spring break and your summer vacation."

For parents, another snow day means finding activities for all the kids.

Moms like Brandy Meyers, who is a guidance counselor for Philadelphia schools, faced a lot of scheduling conflicts this season.

"It's been complicated because he'll have two hours delay and the school district doesn't have two hours delay. So then it is kind of a scramble, calling around seeing who's home," Brandy said.

Philadelphia schools have had seven snow days. One was built in and three are scheduled to be made up by shortening spring break.

School Spokesperson Fernando Gallard tells Action News they are figuring out the total hours, and if and when they'll have to make up the last three snow days.

Gallard says, "We don't know yet. So it might be one more day, two more days or there might be no need for any more days. So we are waiting on an appeal we have with the Department of Education."

Some parents also worry the time off will affect kids' performance on standardized tests. Gallard says it is a concern, but he says there's enough time for teachers to make sure the children are up to speed.

The decision about making up those last three days will be made sometime over the next few weeks.

In Chester County, frustrated parents were first told there would be a two hour late start for the West Chester School District this morning. But then at 8:20 a.m. the announcement was made that classes were cancelled.

Parent Michael Podgurski tells us, "I was expecting to send the kids by the bus. Now I am late for work. A lot of other parents are late for work all because the district called it the last minute."

The Superintendent appreciates parents had to scramble. He didn't want to reverse his call, but Jim Scanlon says an unexpected squall worsened road conditions.

This is the latest chapter for the 11,000 student school district. Its three day spring break now down to one day to make up for snow days. As for the end of the year, the school calendar now runs to June 18th.

With today's closing, the West Chester Area School District has lost 10 full days to winter weather.

Officials here say spring can't come soon enough.

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